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yvonne johnson

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Everything posted by yvonne johnson

  1. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve experimented with the following: Campari and orange juice: I rather liked this. It’s not something I’d have often as it is on the sweet side for me. Campari and (ruby red) grapefruit juice: This was delicious. It looks tropical, lovely color and the tartness of the g. juice does it for me. Thanks for the tip, Christopher. I did buy some chartreuse this weekend, but have not tried your other recipe using the Campari. Negroni: I found this too sweet for me. Also, the viscosity I found a little cloying. So far then, my favorite Campari drinks are the simple Campari & soda, and Campari & grapefruit juice.
  2. Here goes, take 3. We hear “Tavern on the Green is lowering its prices on bottled water due to the drought emergency” and later we learn that Gramercy Tavern is doing likewise. What waiters are telling customers suggests that the emergency will be alleviated, in some way or other, if we drink bottled water rather than tap. I can see no other way of reading this. The EPA appears to counter this claim. http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/wot/howmuch.html At no point does the EPA recommend that we cut back on drinking tap water, because, it seems, the amounts used for drinking are insignificant when compared to other domestic and industrial uses. And let’s not forget that if we wanted to conserve the earth’s resources we’d not be drinking bottled water in the first place. I have some sympathy for the following argument: “Don't be tempted to think that bottled water is a green alternative to tap water. Far from it... Some people think that bottled water is better for you, but this is a myth. And the packaging and transportation costs of bottled water mean that, litre for litre, it is a far bigger 'drain' on the planet's resources than tap water.” http://www.rspb.org.uk/youth/green_house/k.../water_page.htm And the above doesn’t mention recycling of all that glass, plastic, and paying money for Coke’s Dasani which is bottled “tap water”! Fat Guy, I never said “there's nothing I can do in terms of my individual water usage that would make a statistical difference so I'm going to use as much as I want”. I'm saying it would make more sense to cut back on water use where there'd be a real impact. If GT wishes to raise people’s consciousness they should be telling the customers to have shorter showers! If you could show me that the restaurants were losing money on this whole bottled water discount thing, would I change my mind? I don’t think this move will last long if they do lose money. But my main point is that the sales pitch has no empirical evidence and added to that it is yet another pressure tactic. Tommy, I don’t think this is a conspiracy. I think it’s marketing parading as environmentalism.
  3. I remain cynical. If it's a meaningless gesture, in the sense that no water of any significant quantity will be conserved by our drinking bottled water rather than tap, then why are restaurants suggesting otherwise? Because this symbolic gesture is of course a marketing ploy to lull customers into believing they are doing something environmentally benefical and getting a bargain too. The person who came up with this should win a prize. It's just another way of pressuring people into buying bottled water--something many of us here do not like. And as I suggested earlier if the waiter says: "Due to the drought and water emergency, we have lowered the price of our bottled water" you don't think that in some (ill-informed, I admit) circles, declining the bottled and going for tap would be seen as having no respect for planet earth? I apologise for getting hot under the collar on this one, but I really cannot abide misinformation. Have we heard public service announcements telling us to restrict our drinking of tap water and rely on bottled? Funny that the restaurants are the first to do so. I've nothing against places having huge mark-ups on their water and the likes. But out of curiousity I'd like to know if the numbers of bottles of water sold are now on the increase & whether restaurants are making more money on water (inspite of the lower price) than they did before this drought.
  4. Around 20 years ago I attended a grand buffet at the Kuwait Sheraton. Maybe the idea was new there then, but the locals didn't use the dinner plates to help themselves; they went up to buffet table and lifted the entire huge platters and tottering with the weight, carried them back to their tables. By the time my parents and I reached the buffet table, it was completely bare. A novel approach to the buffet. Never liked buffets in the first place, so it was a good excuse for us to do a runner and get a decent sit down dinner somewhere else.
  5. Freud would've gone to town on this one. A little boy who wants his carrot to grow, adults telling him "it won't come up", the boy managing to grow the biggest and finest carrot. Then again, maybe Freud would've said, sometimes a carrot is just a carrot.
  6. Steven, was that tongue in cheek? I think it's a very cheeky move aimed at making the customer feel morally bankrupt if they order tap. The quantities of water drunk must be miniscule compared to industrial use, watering gardens, washing cars, even ourselves.
  7. Thanks for the reminder about Wallse. I've been toying with idea of giving it another go, partly because I liked the look of Gutenbrunner's recent pieces in the NYT Dining section. The look was enhanced by the pretty illustrations. The (raspberry) Salzburger Nockerl was the highlight of our meal around a year ago. I was also taken with the Austrian wine. My general impression, though, on this one night, was that the food looked (back to appearances) better than it tasted. But I do like smoked fish, and like you I had the halibut and it was of high quality. It's a restful place, too.
  8. Visited Annisa (13 Barrow St (Just off Bleeker) 212-741-6699) for the fourth or fifth time last weekend for dinner. I’m following Anita Lo around —evident I guess in my earlier posts on her cooking. I can’t say I keep tabs on many chefs. On Saturday, our entire group of six was ahhing and ooohing over the food. There were little things that distracted, but there were little things, in literal sense of small portions, that greatly enhanced the meal. I started with scallop on radishes that tasted lightly pickled. The scallop (yes, only one) was divine. The amuse: light pastry shell with salmon tartare was equally appealing. The bread—Amy’s white roll—made for a good beginning. The foie gras dumplings in light broth, and snails in ever so thin potato shells had excellent reports. Next I had the veal dish: Small piece of lobster, sautéed sweetbreads and veal sitting cozily on a large plate with a wonderful reduction. First the overall rating: This was one of the best main courses I’ve had in months. It had a little leek underneath and that was it. Now the flaw: the veal was cold on initial presentation. I returned it, and I received two gracious apologies. Two of our friends who also had this dish said their veal was also on the coolish side, but did not feel it necessary to return their dishes. (My husband’s impression is that the kitchen might be on the small side, and they find it hard to serve a table of six. And true, we’ve not had this problem before when we’ve gone in smaller groups.) On to the real plus in having small portions: you have room for dessert, and I don’t have the name of the pastry chef, but the desserts are very good. (Steve Klc has written about the desirability of keeping room for desserts, but given the large portions in most places, I find it often impossible.) My quince crumble was a deconstruction of the original. On the plate were three things: one small dish had the crumble, the second was a pot of what was described “frozen soufflé” which tasted of cream and maybe crème fresh, and the frozen nature had a nice chew, and third was a small glass (that resembled the shape of the pot) of dessert wine. It was a very clean, Asian-looking presentation and it was good too. My husband had the toffee cake which he described as maybe the best pudding he’s ever had. As always there were the dainties. Tiny cantaloupe icicles, chocolates made with real mint, and thirdly slithers of crystallized ginger. With wines, a New Zealand Cab Sauv, and a burgundy, it turned out around $80 per person. Looking forward to returning yet again.
  9. We had some fine ribs at Sticky Fingers in Charleston (on Meeting Street, I believe) a couple of years ago. They were so good we also ordered some through the mail soon after our return home.
  10. Two Saturdays ago returned to Tocqueville (15 East 15th Street, 212/647-1515) after around a year or more. On our first visit, the service was very tardy, so much so it nearly ruined our meal, but when the dishes eventually arrived our group was pleased with the food, and overall, we enjoyed the tranquil, small room. On this occasion, the service was pretty able (leaving aside the “Would you like Peligrino or Evian?” question), but my dishes were uninspiring. For balance, I add that my husband and our friend were happy. Amuse bouche was salmon tartare, finly chopped. Nice enough. For an appetizer I went for Hamachi (yellow tail)—sashimi, I guess. This was quite a big portion. The small pieces of fish that my knife went through with hardly any pressure were very good, however, most of the dish comprised finely chopped fish (resembling the texture of the amuse), and after a while, my thought was, how am I going to get through all this mush? I did taste my husband’s quail which had a big flavor of truffles. I chose venison next. Small, square slices of meat, medium rare as I like it, sat on top of a mound of onions, carrots and greens. Around the plate were a scattering of chestnuts and some reduction. Is it just me? Why not just place the meat directly on the plate? When meat is perched on a hill of stuff, it means the eater has to remove it from the center to the side, then cut it. If one cut it where it was, who knows where the things on the bottom might scatter and splash. The venison had a hint of gameyness to it, but didn’t have that extra umph. The food could’ve been a tad warmer. Roasted rack of lamb and chicken dishes reported to be very good. Two of the desserts were poor. I ordered cardamom panna cotta which was good and creamy, but the dish was marred by way too many toppings: cirtrus fruits, organge peel, blackcurrant sorbet (that tasted very unpleasant). My husband described his apple tart as having “hard” pastry. Ice creams reportedly very good. We were seated in the bar section, which was fine and reasonably quiet. Prices: Appetizers roughly $12-$22, mains, $24-$34. So quite pricey, and not worth the money in my opinion. Bumped into Wilfrid and his other half there, so I await his report to see if we concur.
  11. To bring things back to the Isle of Wight for a moment, as a reader I'd would have liked to have found out (in this case I knew, but if I hadn't known....) the Keller relationship to the dish. I think to say that 99.9% of readers wouldn't care to know doesn't ring true. As Andy points out, we're talking about a dish associated with a world renowned chef landing up on the Isle of Wight. I think that makes for a great story. But even if a Keller-inspired dish ended up in central London, I think it adds to the background information, placing dishes and influences in context. I agree with views above about chefs borrowing from each other all the time, but that doesn't mean, I hope, that the links are ignored. And I don't think making those links for the reader turns the reviewer into a smartypants. Whether they've visited every restaurant on earth or simply know about major trends in culinary things, I value the information.
  12. If Rayner did recognize this "oyster with pearls" as Keller's, he doesn't say so. http://www.observer.co.uk/life/story/0,6903,668701,00.html
  13. Sounds good. For a pretty picture. http://www.information-britain.co.uk/showP...m?Place_ID=1347 Not to re-start the “when did British food stop being crappy”, but an article that discusses Winteringham Fields has this to say: “A gastronomic revolution has taken place in Britain since I first marvelled at moussaka at the Elizabeth a quarter of century ago. It is hardly surprising that it should have had its epicentre in London. It began with the opening of the Roux Brothers' Gavroche in 1967 which very soon upstaged all other restaurants in the capital to become the first ever to gain three Michelin stars.” http://specials.ft.com/uktourism2001/FT365QD7ROC.html I hardly ever visit that part of the UK, but WF might be a good reason to.
  14. I'd like to join you. I'm on spring holidays next week, and I've never been to Peter Luger's. AHR, good for you....a NY eGullet meal at last.
  15. John, I enjoyed your posts. Paul Richardson's book doesn't seem to be available through amazon.com (over here in US), but I found it on amazon.co.uk, and have just ordered it. And I agree with Grigson, who also knows her charcuterie and all things French: there are British masterpieces. Wilfrid: Speaking of Hobbes, I've got a soft spot for him. His collars were squint, like he didn't notice. And he played tennis when he was 70. Seemed quite a cute fellow.
  16. Sorry, Steve, if you got your knickers in a twist in anticipation of a great meal serving British food in New York. Unfortunately, I cannot (much as I’d like to) entertain a duel, because at no point did I say there was a good restaurant of this sort in this fine city. Sad, but true. That said, I would describe Craft and Craftbar as serving food that somewhat resembles British traditional food—liver and onions, plainly braised and roasted meats, sticky desserts. However, I’m led to understand that Colicchio describes his cooking as American with Italian influences. So too bad. It's not to be.
  17. Look, this thread should be locked because people who don’t think French slang is best (it's all in the sauces, everyone know that) are in denial. Everyone I know says so, so it must be true. I mean, criticizing me for pointing out the obvious won’t make British slang any better. It's pointless discussing this further with people who are as thick as planks. And I know a knucklehead when I see one. I mean, everyone knows port is a high class drink and that pies are made with scraps. My, my "magnificent posts". A fan at last. How nice you are tutti-frutti. I now declare my verb. I'll never forgive you Simon for overlooking me in the verb thread. You knucklehead. To tutti-frutti: To admire yours truly, as everyone should.
  18. Yes, it's all very odd. This tutti-frutti-nicki person, aka "lopbamboom", who appears from nowhere appearing to know me. I'm not fussy though because he/she has tremendous respect for my opinions, and therefore shows the highest intelligence. Adam: I told you it's hard! Try again. Main home page, left hand side, "readers opinions", next page, right "forums", click "books". It's worth it because when Plotnicki starts raving about the Eagles you can escape to Boswell.
  19. Or what about Steve’s “big guns”? Or the Plotnicki school of logic: “So point to as many specifics as you can. It won't change anything.” Adam: On to more important topics. There’s a New York Times Forum discussing "Boswell's Presumptuous Task," by Adam Sisman at the mo. http://www.nytimes.com/ On left of page you'll see "Opinion", click on "Readers' Opinion", then at right of next page you'll see at right "Forum Topics"--click on "Books". (The forums are a bit hard to find on first visit.)
  20. Dr Johnson also said on oats: "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland appears to support the people." When he started off on his travels with Boswell, he didn't like the idea of going to Scotland much, but as Fat Guy says, Dr J had quite a bit of affection for the place. As for British restaurants in New York, Poltnicki is wrong in first saying there are none in his header. This is because there are some. Then he goes on to qualify his original question, by asking, well, there are one or two, but these numbers don't amount to much, so show me more than one or two. Well, there are two within a couple of blocks from me (Tea & Sympathy and A Salt and Battery), and more as far as I can see, but then that doesn't qualify the ever-moving criteria that Plotnicki demands, because the restaurants now have to fit "haute" (whatever that means--cream sauces?) criteria. Then if that's not enough, the food served in British restaurants have to fit a French recipe to qualify, and for Plotnicki this means no pastry in the main course. What? By all means let's be civil round here (as Fat Guy suggests), but I'm getting sick and tired of being told it's me who is wrong-headed in the Plotnicki school of logic. Look (to use a Plotnicki rhetorical move), this Plotnicki logic is, well, illogical. And let's see (ditto move: how do I explain this to a moron who doesn't agree?), you obviously don't like British dishes. So what? If you don't see the wonderfulness of game pie, then there is no point is discussing this further (another Plot rhetorical move). As so many people have pointed out so many of the good british dishes are made in people's homes. I think you are at a disadvantage, Steve, because you readily admit you have not shopped ot cooked for yourself in the UK, so I don't think you have a leg to stand on in terms of judging the ingredients over there. In terms of game pie you admit that you don't even like game. So, it goes without saying you won't like it. And if you don't like it, then why not bow out in terms of judging it? Now, British food overseas, leaving aside restaurants. The last time I looked at grocers (cheap and expensive) here in NY they are FULL of British stuff: Scottish salmon, cheeses, biscuits, oatcakes, muffins, scones, marmalade (and I agree with Fat Guy, Thorne's recent artciles is fascinating).
  21. Somewhere where the best burger is not to be found: The Viceroy (at 18th Street at 7th or is it 8th Ave?). I can put my hand over my heart and say that the burger I had on Saturday night was the worst I’ve had in going on fourteen years in New York. I took one bight and I tasted fish! I asked my poor husband to try it to confirm that my taste buds weren’t completely out of whack, and he agreed on the burger’s vileness. I sent it back, requested no replacement, and I wasn’t charged. My husband’s steak frites was OK, but bland. The fries were more than passable though. More pleasing was Fanelli’s (at Prince & Mercer) the other week. My husband had a very fine, juicy bison burger, and my BLT was above average. Nice draught Bass ale too.
  22. Steve (Plotnicki): Just out of curiosity, may I ask where in the UK—apart from London-- you’ve visited? I am, of course, including Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
  23. Yes, port is a drink that’s enjoyed by all classes in Britain. If an expert opinion is called for, Jancis Robinson (ed.) in Oxford Companion to Wine concurs. She writes that port is “drunk everywhere from the gentlemen’s clubs to street corner pubs” (p. 747). As for the British contribution to the development of port, I cite once more from Robinson (p. 744): “The discovery of the wine-making technique which results in port is credited to an Englishman, a Liverpool wine merchant who, in 1678, sent his sons to Portugal in search of wine. At Lamego, a town in the mountains…they found a monastery where the abbot was adding brandy to the wine during, rather than after fermentation…so producing the sort of sweet alcoholic red wine that port would become.” It looks like the Portuguese and English worked together on the port as, in 1703, the two nations signed the Methuen Treaty giving tariff advantages for Portuguese wines.
  24. Steve Plotnicki: I reiterate. You’re not willing to concede one crumb? Now, I’ve to produce 100 stilton reasons for justifying the superiority of a couple of things that the French do not even DO? You say “So point to as many specifics as you can. It won't change anything.” Hmm. I thought you’d be a man and go for some sort of evidence. Then again, Descartes didn’t allow for real evidence did he? Now I can see why so many people have stopped debating, having seen the light of the supposed superiority of the baguette and how it reins over the entire planetary system including my fave Pluto (who’d have known, they prefer baguette with honey over.. whatnot). I’ve been so s-l-o-w. Sorry everyone who bore with me. Over and out for one day.
  25. Steve (Plotnicki): You’re not willing to concede one inch are you? What’s interesting is that you have not addressed any of my points. I was separating the general from the specific. And, you’ve got me wrong on a major point. At no time did I say that France did not trounce England across the board. Your argument now appears to be: all things French are superior to everything else produced by almost all other countries on the planet. This is plainly preposterous. There is no French equivalent to English Stilton, no French equivalent to Arbroath smokies and so the list goes on (Look at “Delicious British Delicacies” thread for other examples) Your statement “I don't know of a single person who isn't English who thinks the food in England is any good” says a lot, maybe, about your circle. I’ve eaten out in New York for 14 years, and a lot of the restaurants here I like, but I’d question someone’s sanity if they said they could not find restaurants in London of comparable quality to those here. Now for the cheap shot: The claim that I’ve acquired a “taste for that [uK]bread as opposed to holding it up to the light and saying that the bread stands up to a comparison with the bread from countries that actually do make good bread”. Steve, can’t you not see how holding the French baguette up as the gold standard is a little limiting? Yes, of course I like a good baguette, but I also like Aberdeen rolls, baps, country brown loaves from some Uk bakeries. I also like Indian naan--I must compare it to the baguette!? To compare all breads with the baguette would be insane. (And an aside, the bread in NY is not horrible, despite being outside France.) Now the one you present as your clincher which is very telling. “An objective view of mushy peas is that they are horrible.” Objective because you say so? And your rejoinder to those who like them: “Well, it’s because you’ve been brought up to like them, and are trapped in your backward culture where you must lower your standards so that you can pretend to enjoy yourself. Really, you’re unable to assess the food impartially”. And you have appointed yourself to be the judge in these culinary matters? Can’t you see how this might come across as a tiny bit condescending? Please take anything I post on Craft with a grain of oatmeal. As for Scottish food being ethnic, of course it is. “Ethnic” refers to people who are, or things pertaining to, heathen. I think that means that means you won’t like it.
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